One Year Later: From a Somber Easter to a Modern Easter, The Foundry Church Prepares for Sunday
MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - “They are doing really great things here,” said Justin Myers as he sorted through a box of hand drawn yard signs.
Myers is the lead pastor of the Foundry Church in Morgantown. Members of his congregation created the signs adorned with phrases like “an awesome healthcare worker lives here” and “an amazing teacher lives here - The Foundry Church.” These signs will be seen in yards around Morgantown this week as a part of the church’s annual Love Week. During this event, church-goers aim to give back to community leading up to Easter Sunday.
“It is just the way that we serve the community and share the love of Christ in practical ways,” Myers said.
The tradition is less than a decade old. So is the church. But the number of people who attended Foundry Church grew as quickly as the church itself. Now a landmark on High Street, the church used to bolster full pews every Sunday, but just before one of Christianity’s largest holidays last year, the church went barren.
“It was a shock to the system,” Myers said.
Easter of 2020 was done virtually. Just a handful of people were in the church to put on the sermon and livestream it. That April there was still confusion as to what coronavirus was or the scope of the pandemic.
“Honestly Easter service last year was a very somber time. I wish it was more celebrating the life, death and resurrection of Christ but it was more somber because it felt like the church had changed forever,” Myers said.
Nearly an entire year later, and the church has changed. Thin ropes block every other pew, thermometers are present and the church has a system to track who attends services. All of these were put in place as a means to keep people who decide to attend in-person sermons safe.
But a growing number of people are preparing to return to normal life. WVU Medicine pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. Kathryn Moffett compares where we are in the pandemic to a marathon.
“We are 20 miles in and we can not give up yet,” Dr. Moffett said.
As of this week the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reports over 340,000 West Virginians are fully vaccinated, but many of them are still in the two week waiting period after the second shot before full immunization. Many more still need their immunizations. Dr. Moffett urges anyone that has not been vaccinated to avoid Sunday service, and instead consider livestreaming services, a commodity many churches now offer.
The Foundry is one of those churches. Livestreams posted on their Facebook page pick up hundreds of views weekly.
“We have, over the whole time of the pandemic, increased our streaming capabilities and the quality and things like that with a wonderful production team to make people really still feel like they are at home while they are at home,” Myers said, calling his church a home for his congregation.
The Foundry Church will host both in-person and virtual sermons this Sunday, catering to both those who feel comfortable returning to service and those who prefer to stay home.
“One of the things we aimed to do the whole time as a church is to gather safely. With the shutdown and with the reopen, we have always wanted to gather safely, to make folks feel as safe as possible when they gather,” Myers said. “We are continuing with that through Easter. We are doing social distancing, masks and we did a reservation this time. An RSVP where you are reserving your spot. Just to make sure that folks can gather safely. We are seeing a comeback which is exciting.”
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